In March 1912 the Mayor of Tokyo City sent a gift of Japanese Cherry Trees to the city of Washington DC in an effort to enhance the growing friendship between the United States and Japan and also celebrate the continued close relationship between the two nations.
In Japan cherry trees are part of Hanami, or flower viewing, the traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers–specifically those of Japanese Cherry Trees.
Now that tradition has come to East Boston.
The Bradley Elementary School was the fourth Boston Public School to be selected to receive cherry trees from the Fish Family Foundation. Recently Zen Associates, who were the landscape architects, planted the trees and last Friday the school held a celebration.
Timothy Nagaoka, the itinerant Boston Public Schools teacher teaching Japanese to fourth, fifth and sixth grade students in the Advanced Work Class (AWC) program in six schools throughout the city including the Bradley, said the Fish Family Foundation ma
de a commitment to plant cherry trees in five Boston schools that offer Japanese.
“I started the Japanese Program at Bradley Elementary School thirteen years ago when I started teaching,” said Nagaoka. “Currently, the fourth and fifth grade AWC students at the school each receive two forty-five minute Japanese classes each week. In the spring of 2012 as part of the centennial celebration of the Japan giving the cherry trees to Washington DC, the Japanese Consulate in Boston and The Fish Family Foundation made a commitment to plant cherry trees in five Boston schools that offer Japanese.”
Nagaoka said the commitment also included the planting and maintenance by Zen Associates.
“This year, the Bradley Elementary School was selected to receive five trees, and the trees will be maintained for a year by Zen Associates,” said Nagaoka. “As the cherry trees in Washington DC symbolize the friendship between Japan and the United States, I hope that the trees planted at Bradley Elementary School represent the connection the students of East Boston have with Japan.”